Star Lanes Polaris

Boutique alley offers much more than bowling

Bowling used to be an activity all its own with not much else to spare. You’d show up to an alley ready to bowl, request your clown-like shoes, select a black ball, maybe order some nachos and a Coke, and then desperately try to break a score of 100.

But “boutique” bowling alleys, such as Star Lanes Polaris in Columbus, have changed the notion of traditional bowing and transformed alleys into playful destinations with new entertainment options and full-service restaurants.

Star Lanes, which opened in 2012, is a 35,000 square-foot fun center located near Polaris Fashion Place at 8655 Lyra Dr. What makes it a boutique alley is that the space designated to bowling is relatively small compared to the rest of the venue – just 20 lanes.

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You also won’t find a snack counter here. Instead, the Point Bar & Grill offers made-from-scratch meals including skewered coconut shrimp, grilled veggie tacos with fresh guacamole, and an assortment of craft beers and wines by the glass.

The kid’s menu includes classics such as cheese pizza, quesadillas, mac and cheese, and chicken bites, as well as a roasted turkey sandwich and a Caesar salad. (On Wednesday nights, kids eat free with the purchase of a regular-priced adult meal.)

Along with a sit-down restaurant, meals can be served alongside your alley, outfitted with comfortable couches and a selection of colorful bowling balls. Keeping score is kitschy, too, as you can reset the monitor theme and program gutter bumpers to seamlessly pop up and down in between turns.

Star Lanes also offers an upscale lounge with billiards tables and a DJ booth. Plus it has an arcade, where players can win e-tickets redeemable for an assortment of prizes. There’s even space for private parties.

For more information, visit or call 614-468-4830.

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tan rollerskates

Rediscover rush of roller skating

I recently rediscovered the rush of roller skating while escorting my daughter to a friend’s birthday party at Skate Zone 71, a roller rink located alongside I-71 in Columbus.

Fond memories of the 1980s came flooding back as I slipped on a pair well-worn, tan skates with orange wheels, just like the ones I wore when I was a regular at Medina Skateland in Medina, Ohio.

Except instead of swooning to such songs as Journey’s “Open Arms” and Benny Mardones’ “Into The Night,” my daughter, Rosie, and I circled the rink to DJ-spun tunes by the likes of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.

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It was Rosie’s first time roller skating, but she quickly got the swing of things thanks to the help of a triangular contraption called a “skate mate.” It works like an elderly person’s walker with wheels. Instead of clinging to the walls, she was able to sail into the rink with ease and confidence.

Skate Zone’s rink can accommodate 700 roller skaters and rollerbladers. Skaters can mill around the middle trying freestyle moves or lounge on the plastic couches.

This isn’t the Skateland of my childhood, though. It’s much bigger with rows of tables for simultaneous parties; an arcade with games that dispense tickets that you can redeem for prizes; a haze-filled, glow-in-the-dark space for laser tag; and a concession stand offering hot pretzels, pizza, snow cones and cotton candy.

Guests can skate to Disney tunes on Saturday mornings or to glow lights on Sunday afternoons. Weekend family skate times are Fridays 7-10 p.m. and Saturdays 12:30-3 p.m., 4-7 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. Admission is $7 with an added $4 charge for skate rental.

Need a refresher course? Skate lessons are available on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-noon for $6 per person.

Skate Zone 71 is located at 4900 Evanswood Dr., Columbus. For more information, call 614-846-5627 or visit

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